International Day of Happiness
It has been said that the pursuit of happiness, of being “free from fear and want, and in harmony with nature,” is what drives all human endeavors. Since 1972, the tiny country of Bhutan has lived and governed under a political philosophy of “Gross National Happiness.” This ideology is based on the Buddhist concept that happiness can and should be accessible to all. It focuses on four “pillars:” good governance, sustainable socioeconomic development, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation. Not surprisingly, it was on Bhutan’s suggestion that the United Nations entertained the concept of an International Day of Happiness.
Following the unanimous resolution for its enactment in June 2012, the first International Day of Happiness was celebrated worldwide on March 20, 2013. Through its recognition, the U.N. promotes the principle that general human happiness should be a primary consideration in our approach to all public policy and economic objectives. It stresses the notion that progress cannot be measured in economic terms alone. Wellbeing and happiness are fundamental human goals and are equally essential to a complete measurement of “human progress.”
However, the overall happiness of a society is not completely reliant on the compassion of political leaders and institutions. It starts at an individual level. With the help of the social organizations such as CHEERS and Action for Happiness, infectious and inspiring acts of joy and “positive psychology” are promoted worldwide on this designated day and encouraged throughout the year.